Houston Mayor John Whitmire tasked the Houston Public Works Department with evaluating the effectiveness, impact and lessons learned about the 11th Street Bikeway project.

What’s happening?

Erin Jones, public information officer for Houston Public Works, said Whitmire requested the evaluation of the project, which was completed in October.

“Mayor Whitmire is currently getting a firsthand view of all City of Houston departments and their significant projects, programs and initiatives,” she said in an email. “The mayor is listening to Houstonians to understand what they want from their city government, including safety and mobility options.”

What we know

According to the city’s planning and development department, the 11th Street Safety Improvements Project was aimed at addressing traffic safety concerns along the 1.5-mile segment from Shepherd to Michaux in the Heights neighborhood.

As part of the Houston Bike Plan, the project also created a protected bikeway for people biking from 11th Street to Stude Park. The design included removing a lane each way for car traffic in order to put in a bike lane.

Former Mayor Sylvester Turner originally announced the redesign in 2022, and the project was met with controversy from some business owners on 11th Street who expressed concerns about how it would affect access to their businesses, and residents who felt it would worsen traffic on nearby neighborhood streets.

However, design for the $2.4 million project continued and construction was completed in October 2023.

What they are saying

Whitmire’s decision to reevaluate the 11th Street Improvement Project comes on the heels of the project receiving a statewide award.

The Texas chapter of the American Public Works Association dubbed the 11th Street redesign as the 2024 In-House Project of the year in an announcement in early March.

"11th Street is safer today than it was before it was redesigned," Joe Cutrufo, executive director of BikeHouston said. "If the mayor values safety over speed, then he'll quickly realize that he shouldn't waste staff time and taxpayer dollars rethinking this award-winning project."

Stay tuned

Jones said the department would share results of the evaluation “at its earliest convenience.”